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Author: William A. Stein
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Lecture 1: Meet Python (and us), 3/29/10

(These are still rough, to be cleaned up soon.)

Administrativia (~20 min)


Make sure to mention:

  • name
  • email
  • webpage for course
  • office/office hours

Give a blurb about each of us. Next, give an idea of just what we're trying to accomplish with the course (basically expound on what's in the syllabus).

Mention that there's probably a big split in the class between programmers and non-programmers. Do a very informal hand-raising survey about previous programming experience.

Talk a little bit about the schedule.


  • Grades will be 50% homework, 50% project.
  • No late homework. Submit by email.
  • Assignment 0 handed out now
  • Five homework assignments
  • oodles of Python code on the web -- don't cheat
  • One project


  • Details will be forthcoming -- we're still working out all the specifics
  • Basic project statement: "Do something you think is awesome."
  • Groups of up to 4
  • Written and programming components
  • Need to submit a proposal somewhere around week 3
  • Presentations (~5 min) during the last week of class

Meet Python (~5 min)

  • Python is a full-blown general purpose programming language, with
    • the goals of being powerful, readable, and fun to use.
  • Python was created by Guido van Rossum, who's still deeply involved
    • with the project today. He's known as the "BDFL" -- benevolent dictator for life.
  • talk about the Zen of Python

References for Python (~5 min)

Lots of distributions (~3 min)

Python the calculator (~10 min)

  • Awesome Mark Pilgrim quote: "let's just skip all that ..."

The Collatz Conjecture (~2 min)

  • Explain sequence, conjecture, hand out program, tell them to try it out.

2013-05-11 18:32